Barden’s Bites: Rhubarb and Pimm’s Trifle

Nigel Barden says : Gizzi Erskine is a clever chef who juggles telly presenting with overseeing pop-up restaurants and hosting cookery demos. She looks pretty remarkable with her distinctive beehive hairdo and the large pair of wings tattooed on her back. In her 'Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts' (Quadrille) she recommends plenty of tasty but healthy dishes to have Monday to Friday (Chorizo and Chickpea Soup with Rose Petal Harissa), whilst going a bit more bonkers at the weekend (Korean Roast Lamb Shoulder) and in this case a brilliantly indulgent Rhubarb Trifle, with one of Britain's favourite tipples: Pimm's.

It's a pretty punchy dish so rather than trying to compete with the richness, I've opted for a lighter style pud wine, with a refreshingly low 10% alcohol. It's the Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2010 (£12.49 for 37.5cl). Made predominantly from Chenin Blanc and with a touch of Muscat de Frontignan, from South Africa's Western Cape.

Rhubarb and Pimm’s Trifle By Gizzi Erskine from ‘Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts’ (Quadrille)

Serves 6
Prep time 30 mins
Cooking time 1hr (+ 5hrs setting/chilling time)

50ml Pimm’s No.1
50ml dry sherry
50g caster sugar
1 x 600ml pot of fresh custard
300ml double cream
1 tsp icing sugar
50g good quality dark chocolate
a few glacé cherries (if you fancy)

For the ginger cake
225g butter, plus extra for greasing
225g dark brown sugar
225g black treacle
2 eggs, beaten
290ml milk
340g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
a small grating of nutmeg
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the rhubarb jelly
500g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3cm chunks
150ml water
140g caster sugar
50ml Pimm’s No.1
4 gelatine leaves

To make the ginger cake, preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 2.

Grease and line a 30cm x 20cm roasting tin.

Melt the butter, sugar and treacle together in a pan, leave to cool for 10 mins, then stir in the eggs and milk.

Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl, then fold in the butter mixture to form a batter.

Pour the batter into the roasting tin and bake in the oven for 45 mins, or until the cake is risen and firm.

Leave to cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container until needed.

To make the jelly, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Put the rhubarb in an ovenproof dish.

Add the water, sugar and Pimm’s and cook in the oven for 15 mins, or until the rhubarb is just tender.

Strain the rhubarb juice into a small saucepan.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 mins, squeeze out any water with your hands and stir into the rhubarb juice to dissolve.

Put the rhubarb in your trifle bowl, pour over the liquid and refrigerate for at least 4hrs to set.

Now you’re ready to put the trifle together. Combine the Pimm’s, sherry and caster sugar.
Chop up 150g of the cake into cubes, add it to the boozy mix and then pop on top of the rhubarb jelly.
Pour over the custard and level out the top.
Whisk the cream together with the icing sugar until it’s gently holding its shape, then use to top the custard.
Grate over the chocolate and finish with glacé cherries if you like.
Pop in the fridge to chill for 1hr before eating.

Nigel's Top Tips
• If you're a glacé cherry fiend, do add a few of them whole or sliced at the end, just before the grated chocolate, which are Marraschino cherries preserved in sugar syrup, making them firm, shiny and yet sticky.
• When mixing your double cream and icing sugar, continue whisking until it gently holds it's shape.
• Pimm's No.1 is bottled at 25% a.b.v, so mix it with 2-3 x as much lemonade to taste, with a mixture of your favourite fruit, traditionally strawberries, oranges, lemons, cucumber and mint. If mixed with Champagne it's called 'Pimm's Royal Cup'.
Buy any amount of the delicious and award-winning Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest and you will automatically enter our prize draw to win one of two copies of 'Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts' by Gizzi Erskine courtesy of Quadrille Publishing
As an added incentive enjoy 20% OFF Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest until the 16th September. Enter promotional code - Nederburg - at the basket.
Recipe photograph: Jason Lowe 

Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts by Gizzi Erskine (Quadrille, £19.99) is available at all good bookshops and online retailers


Written by: Nigel Barden

Nigel Barden 


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